With ‘Waterworks’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s reimagining of the concert experience doesn’t stop with spectacular projections and atmospheric sound and lighting design. The innovation extends to what the musicians are wearing on stage. Not for them the conventional formal concert attire; instead the players and conductor Kristjan Järvi are sporting bespoke clothing from Monton, a leading brand that is part of the Estonian fashion house Baltika Group. The orchestra’s new look has been designed to reflect the water theme of the concert repertoire, with the musicians clad not in black but in shades of grey, white and blue.
For Kristjan, the collaboration with Monton is an important part of the new presentation concept being pioneered in ‘Waterworks’. He says: ‘The sense of unity that I want to achieve between the music, the projections, the lighting and the sound design also incorporates the clothing of the orchestra. Everything is part of an organic whole, a unified artistic concept, and that includes how the orchestra looks on stage, the way its clothes represent the different colours of water, and the way the light reflects off the various materials.’
A perfect match
‘Waterworks’ marks the start of a long-term collaboration planned by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the Baltika Group. The two organisations are particularly well matched, in more than just name: innovative and passionate about everything they do, both are driven by an openness to fresh ideas, and both bring talented people together and cross geographical boundaries. Baltika has a design heritage stretching back almost 90 years, and played a significant part in safeguarding and championing Estonia’s textile and clothing industry during the country’s transition from closed borders to the post-Communist era of free-market opportunity. Monton, one of five Baltika brands, was established nearly 15 years ago – making it only a few years older than the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – and is today the most successful Estonian fashion brand in the world.
Known for its free-spirited individuality, Monton often merges contrasting influences to create a look that’s fresh and unexpected. For instance, its spring/summer 2017 collection Duality, designed by a team from Estonia, Finland and Lithuania, takes inspiration from two islands that could not be more different: hot, tropical Cuba and cool, clean Iceland. And it’s the second of these islands, with its geysirs, waterfalls, glaciers and surrounding seas, that has inspired the design for the orchestra’s outfits. Maire Milder, Baltika Group’s Branding and Retail Concept Director, says: ‘The styling for “Waterworks” uses a black‒grey‒white‒navy colour palette, with sky blue for the accent. It’s a rather minimalistic styling where details act as focal points: pleats imitate water flow and movement, and sheer tulle and straight-cut edges represent the qualities of ice.’ She adds: ‘We also considered the need for comfort, so that the musicians can concentrate on their goal of making music.’
The fusion of style and comfort gives the Baltic Sea Philharmonic a unique and innovative edge, says Kristjan: ‘Monton’s clothing is the kind that allows a musician to move around naturally. And while comfort is paramount, it’s rare for orchestral musicians to have comfortable performance clothes that are so stylish. So we are breaking new ground, both in terms of fashion and in how the stage design and lighting is enhanced by the look of an orchestra.’